water; landscape; vegetation
This early Impressionist painting by Monet, completed at age 28, depicts an evening sky shortly after sunset at the village of Bougival, located on the Seine west of Paris. Monet painted in and around Bougival in the latter half of 1869, joined on occasion by both Renoir and Pissarro, who lived nearby. At that time, Bougival was a fashionable suburban retreat, still unspoiled by growing tourism. At the center of this painting, silhouetted against the sky, is the 17th-century aqueduct commissioned by Louis XIV to pump water for his royal fountains at Marly and Versailles. Monet emphasized the historic landmark and downplayed signs of modernity, including the modern bridge across the Seine that he only faintly indicated. Unlike Monet's later works, in which particular forms dissolve into overall effects of light and atmosphere, in this early work broad, fluid brushstrokes define individual elements of the scene: two figures in a rowboat at lower left, the houses of Bougival behind them, and the long blades of grass on the Island of Croissy in the foreground, the site from which Monet painted.